ai yi yi yi yi!
The other day when I was thinking about privilege, like you do, I was reminded of one of my favorite movies: a stunning piece of cinematic genius known as Power Rangers: The Movie. I know what you’re thinking: that PR:TM is slightly high-brow for a lowly blog, but bear with me.
So, back in the day, I was quite smitten with a certain Blue Ranger. The glasses, the overalls, the being socially ostracized – it just did it for me. And quite recently I happened upon a behind-the-scenes video from the bygone era of Angel Grove High that confirmed what I was too naïve to grasp in those glory days: Walter Jones was perfectly aware that he, a black man, was cast as the Black Ranger. I can also infer from this that Thuy Tran was well aware that she, an Asian woman, was cast as the Yellow Ranger.
This last paragraph doesn’t really have anything to do with my point. I just thought it was interesting.
My point is actually related to something Billy the (drop-dead sexy) Blue Ranger says on Phados when he and his buddies are fighting stunt actors in bird suits:
“Y’know the funny thing about Morphin’? You don’t appreciate it ‘till you can’t do it anymore!” [At which point he gets his ass handed to him by aforementioned feathered stunt persons.]
And – lo! – we do not live in a vacuum. Even movies like PR:TM are written/produced/filmed in a social milieu. (That may account for those egregious casting decisions I opened with! Look, I brought it around!) So, I thought, “Hey! What if I replace ‘Morphin’’ (as cool as that is) with ‘privilege’? With one word, I have successfully turned PR:TM into insightful social commentary.”
Some privilege doesn’t just go away, like Morphin’ can (if your head-in-a-tennis-ball-canister boss gets pwned, of course).
So, as a tool for folks when they come into a situation where their (white, cis, het, male, etc) privilege affords them an unearned advantage, just encourage them to imagine that they’re on an alien planet that looks a lot like Australia. All of a sudden they’re ambushed by wisecracking Tengu warriors, and they realize that their trusty magic gold coin, used to swathe themselves in Technicolor spandex, is gone, and without it their chances of escaping (psychologically, physically, emotionally) intact are, if not nil, at least drastically reduced.
That spandex – that’s privilege.
Seriously, use this in a conversation about the kyriarchy. It’ll help.